I have a plan.

Self control isn’t something that comes easy to me, especially when it comes to yarn. The excited feeling that comes with casting on a new project is hard to beat when it’s still so cold outside.

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The yarn in my closet is just going to have to wait, I need to work on this mountain of unfinished knits.

I am promising myself that I will not cast on for a new project until I finish at least three.  Happily, I have here that are getting close….

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Thanks to a movie marathons last night, my Marion Sweater is only lacking by half of a sleeve.  I don’t even need to worry about button bands, I already did those.

I just need 6 more inches of easy, intuitive, interesting lace.  I got this…

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I think I have a problem…

It isn’t that I don’t like to finish things, I just really love to start them.

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Not long after I started my Ravelry account, I became drunk with possibility.  The patterns!  The colors! The yarns!  My queue quickly swelled to over 400. 400!?!  I’m not sure I will knit 400 things in my lifetime.  At least not while I’m working for a living…

My queue, I decided, is like a wish list.  It is an inspiration file.

My projects page is a whole other beast… I do try to keep up with the general status of things, but I admit, my projects page is starting to look a little too ambitions.  This is where I keep straight all of the reasons that I bought “that yarn” in the first place.  I have actually purchased the yarn for every single thing here.  (Please don’t tel my husband!)

My current status of WIPS is a touch intimidating:

I have my waiting room socks

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The blanket I started for a friend two years ago

The blanket I started for a friend last fall

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The mermaid tail blanket I started for a friend’s daughter last month….and one more just like it after that…

There is a cardigan that just needs a zipper

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The sweater that needs half of a sleeve

and a sweater that needs a Netflix Marathon

There are two… I mean three scarves and one shawl

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A ridiculous hat that my son insists he NEEEEEDS

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and somehow, I am still itching to cast on for the Banyan Shawl.

What. The. Hell. Is. Wrong. With. Me??

 

An exciting yarn club

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My Christmas present to myself last year was a coveted membership in Ysolda’s 2016 Club.  She will be sending out four patterns and their suggested yarns over the year. I have knit several of her patterns and have yet to be disappointed.  I jumped at the chance to join the fun and so far, I am so glad I did!

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I couldn’t be happier with this month’s yarn selection.  It is soft, and airy, and the color is so deep and warm and classy and utterly inspiring.  The first thing I did when I unwrapped the package was plop it down in the snow for a photo shoot in natural light.  In February.  At 4PM.  Thank you Alaska and your gray light. Ugh.

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Then I tried the kitchen table.  Clearly, I still needed better light.  A better camera wouldn’t hurt either, but I digress….

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Finally, I just drug the stuff into the bathroom.  Still a no-go, but at least you can make out the golden halo.  Pictures really don’t do the stuff justice. It really is heavenly and I can’t wait to cast on!

Sadly though, the Banyan scarf (or shawl!) pattern that came with this month’s installment is going to have to wait – I simply have too many things on the needles and hooks right now.

More on that soon….

Mrs. Walker’s Cranberry Nut Pie

The last holiday season was a bit disjointed at my house. The Man went to visit his parents, The Boy went to visit mine, and I stayed home to take care of the animals and work.

Taking pity on me, a good friend invited me for their traditional clam chowder and Christmas-Eve Monopoly. Not wanting to show up empty-handed, I took to the internet to find the perfect treat to share.

I found a recipe at judyschickens.org for Mrs. Walker’s Cranberry Pie.  It was life-changing.

Source: Mrs. Walker’s Cranberry Nut Pie

God Bless our First Responders

As a 9-1-1 Dispatcher, my job is to triage emergencies.  I decide who to send, where to send them, and I get help where it is needed most.  I talk to people in crisis call after call-sometimes for 12 hours straight.  I am no stranger to Critical Incident Stress or the effects it has on my team of call-takers, dispatchers, and first responders.

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When I got into this line of work, like my peers, I did so to serve and protect my community.  I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself.  I wanted to HELP.

It is my strong desire to help and my natural resiliency that has given me the strength I need to put my head set on for 40-60 hours per week over the last  13 years.  I have saved lives.  I have made a difference.  I have also lost the fight.  I have been with callers and responders in their darkest, most hopeless, most frightened moments.  I have listened to desperate cries for help. I have listened to last breaths and first cries.  I have heard it all.

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If I said that this journey didn’t take its toll on my heart and soul, I would be a liar.  While I don’t suffer like some of my peers, I have had my moments.  What keeps me strong is always knowing that I am a part of the solution.  I know I make a difference.  I have healthy coping mechanisms and a lot of support.  Others aren’t as lucky.  The rate of PTSD in call-takers, Police Officers, Fire Fighters and Paramedics is staggering.  Their suicide rates are stunningly high. It is heartbreaking.

What makes one responder better able to handle the “daily grind” than another varies.  Many are aware they need some help but are afraid to ask for it or they simply don’t know how.  These people are at risk.  They have nightmares, depression, head aches, insomnia, fatigue, digestive problems, mood swings, short tempers, loss of appetite, lack of interest, lack of joy.  They self medicate with alcohol, sleeping pills, caffeine, food, gambling, shopping.  They feel a loss of self.  A lack of control.  A loss of hope. They withdraw.  They lash out.  They push everyone else away and at worst, they take their own lives.

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Does this sound familiar? Like a loved one?  A friend?  Yourself? If so, there is light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. Life doesn’t have to be like this.  There is help.  You don’t have to live your life a minute at a time.

The first step in healing is understanding that all of this is your body’s normal response to trauma. Yes, it is bull shit, but your body and mind are wired to respond this way.  There is nothing wrong with you.  You feel like this because you are human.

Check out this link from traumacenter.org and this one from CISM International.  Knowledge is Power.

Your next step is to ask for help.  Ask for a Critical Incident Debrief.  Talk to your pastor.  Find a counselor.  Find resources in your area and use them.  Talk to someone.  Please.  Keep a healthy routine.  Get sleep.  Drink a lot of water and eat healthy food.  Get exercise.  Get out of bed.

Are you trying to help someone through their pain?  The single most important thing you can do is LISTEN.  Don’t judge.  Don’t try to fix them, you can’t.  The best thing you can do is let that person know they are important, valuable, loved and needed.  The most powerful thing you can do is walk with them in this journey.  Be an ear.  Be a shoulder.  Be a friend.  Be there.

The next post will be about knitting, I promise.

 

 

 

Keeping it all Together

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For me, first learning to knit was a frustrating process.  It always felt like between trying to man-handle the needles and keep the yarn under control, I was just one dropped stitch away from a complete mental break down.

At the time, there was no LYS near by, I had no knitterly friends willing to suffer through teaching me the ropes, and the only patterns available to me were the out-of-date ones that come for free at the local big-box craft store.  The yarn I picked was cheap acrylic.  My tension was so tight that the yarn actually squeaked over the cheap metal needles that came in my “learn-to-knit” kit.

Things have certainly come a long way, but the learning hasn’t stopped.  Never.

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A large part of my decision to start my own blog was that I need a place to keep all of the little tips and tricks I pick up along the way together.  For example, on my latest project, The Marion Sweater test-knit, the pattern called for a new-to-me increase and decrease stitch: The KRL and KLL.  Thankfully, the designer, Vera Sanon, was kind enough to include a helpful link in the pattern and thanks to the amazing folks at knittinghelp.com, I was quickly on my way.

Next up on my project list?  My own increase and decrease sampler.